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Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Brothers of Mercy Olive Products a Unique Fundraising Effort

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm

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“We admit it – it’s a unique idea.” Br. Kenneth Thomas, FMM is often asked about how the Brothers of Mercy of Montabaur decided to sell their own brand of 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil and assortment of olive products as a fundraising effort for the nonprofit organization. “We weren’t considering a fundraising idea like this, but, when our chief operating officer happened to visit a friend in California who manages an olive processing company, he returned to Western New York brimming with enthusiasm.”

Sales started with the extra virgin olive oil, the oil produced from the first pressing of the olives. “What makes this oil so special is the remarkably short time between when the olives are harvested and when the oil is processed,” Thomas said. “It’s only about 90 minutes from harvesting from the trees to the pressing process. You just can’t get any fresher than that.” In fact, the oil has been awarded the top prize in prestigious olive oil competitions in California.

The Brothers liked the fact that olive oil is a healthy dietary fat. They also liked the strong connection between olives, olive oil and the Bible so much, that they added another olive product, muffuletta mix, a tasty blend of olives, peppers, garlic, onions, carrots, celery and cauliflower. It’s used in a variety of ways including adding flavor and texture to salads, casseroles, dip, or as the base for the famous New Orleans muffuletta sandwich.

It wasn’t long before whole olives were added to the project. Thomas now offers garlic-stuffed, Sicilian, bleu cheese stuffed, spicy Buffalo bleu cheese stuffed, and feta-stuffed. The popular olive products are sold on-line in and in the Brothers of Mercy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center gift shop, 10570 Bergtold Road, and in the Brothers of Mercy Sacred Heart Adult Home 4520 Ransom Road, Clarence, as well as in stores and restaurants. Visit the Brothers of Mercy website for a list of locations and on-line purchase information, There is also a Facebook page on which Thomas lists upcoming festivals and community events in which the products will be sold. “Look for ‘Brothers of Mercy EVOO and olive products,” he said. “It’s updated all the time.”

Thomas said that two more varieties of olives are currently on consideration. “Eventually, we plan to offer about a dozen different olive products. Keep an eye on the line of Brothers of Mercy olives; we keep growing,” he said.

For more information you can contact Br. Kenneth Thomas at 716-759-7658 or, or Pam Kloc, Marketing and Public Relations, at 716-759-7604 or

Article courtesy of Pam Kloc

Niagara Wine Trail named on 8 Great American Short Road Trips list

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm

The Niagara Wine Trail was named as a pit-stop in’s best short distance road trips.

Whether traveling cross country or a backyard tourist, American travelers have a desire to drive to their vacation destination. According to a recent Expedia poll, 25 percent of men and 33 percent of women have “not but always wanted to drive across the US.” Highlighting shorter road trips, named the Niagara Wine Trail number 7 on its “8 Great American Short Road Trips” list, showcasing some of the best scenery and wide-open spaces America has to offer. Often referred to as “The Other New York”, this part of the Empire State belongs to the Great Lakes region. Eighty-nine miles from the Lake Ontario Parkway to Youngstown and Lewiston, NY, consists of mellow beauty — forests, meadows, orchards, and vineyards.

“Once you hit Niagara County, be on the lookout for the many tasting possibilities along the growing Niagara Wine Trail. And of course, just up the escarpment, there are some falls that you may have heard of.” —

The Niagara wine region includes the Niagara Escarpment AVA (American Viticultural Area) and spans across the Niagara Frontier in New York and into Canada. For more information on the Niagara Wine Trail and its 16 member wineries, please visit

To read more about America’s best short distance road trips, please visit

Post courtesy of Michelle Blackley, from the Experience Niagara USA Travel Blog.


Local BOCES students to compete in Falls culinary competition

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The Culinary Arts students at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center will be competing against other high school students all over the state on March 23rd and 24th at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls.

Teacher Bob Ihle will be bringing his ProStart team of Collin Mellott, Amber Passero, Rhiannan Schmidt and Joshua Sharples to compete in the event which will consist of cooking competitions and restaurant management principles. Prostart is a national organization. In New York State it is supported by the New York State Restaurant Association.

“We will be competing against 19 other teams on Saturday the 24th for the whole day,” says Ihle. “My students have been practicing fabricating chickens, preparing knife cuts and completing a menu that will consist of an appetizer, full dinner plate and a dessert.”

Ihle says his students earned a place on his team by participating in several areas of competitions and that he thinks they will do well at the completion.

In the photos, from left, are Collin Mellott (North Tonawanda), Amber Passero (Niagara Wheatfield), Rhiannan Schhmidt (Niagara Falls) and Joshua Sharples (North Tonawanda).

Post courtesy of Tim Schmitt at


Spring Is Here- And So Is Maple Syrup Season!

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Local New York State maple syrup from Farmers & Artisans of Williamsville, NY.

We’re in for a sweet March in Western New York. With record-setting high temperatures and the arrival of maple syrup season, there is an abundance of ways to get your sweet fix.

There are over 500 maple producers in New York State collecting maple sap. It takes 40 gallons of sap to create one full gallon of syrup, and during a typical season a tree can produce 10-20 gallons per tap (depending on the tree, weather conditions, length of the sap season, and method of collection). Once gathered, the sap is boiled to evaporate the water. What remains after that is the thick, sweet maple syrup we all know, love, and like to smother our pancakes with.

Farmers & Artisans, located in Williamsville, kicked off maple season last weekend with a “Pancakes on Spring Street” event. Customers who stopped by enjoyed pancakes drizzled with local maple goodness from Flyway Farm, along with breakfast sausage and applesauce. Don’t fret about missing the event- you can still pick up local syrup from Farmers & Artisans before it flies off the shelves.

If you’re still in search of a sweet spot, several local farms in Niagara County are showcasing their maple-syrup producing capabilities for free this weekend. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on March 24 and 25, both Wolf Maple Products of Middleport and Niagara Forestry of Cambria are opening the doors to their sugar shacks to give the public a glimpse at what really goes in to making maple syrup. With a great weather forecast in store, it’s a great opportunity to bring the family out, take a tour of some local facilities, taste-test some samples and take home a bottle of local maple syrup.

For more information on Farmers & Artisans you can visit their website at or find them on Facebook. Additional details for Niagara County’s Maple Weekend can be found at or on the Experience Niagara USA Travel Blog at

Brick Oven Bistro & Deli ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? How about visiting the city’s newest restaurant in the heart of Buffalo’s Irish District?

Since opening its doors on Feb. 13, the Brick Oven Bistro & Deli at 904 Abbott Road in South Buffalo has quickly become a neighborhood favorite for many reasons, one being the restaurant’s unique assortment of bottled and draft beer. In addition to the standards, customers are greeted by a wide variety of unique microbrews and even some tasty local selections.

There’s no doubt that the Guinness, Harp and O’Hara Irish Stout taps will be getting a good workout during St. Patrick’s Week festivities, but guests may also enjoy trying a pint of a delicious local brew such as Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale or Flying Bison Aviator Red Irish Ale, or a bottle of Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA, Ellicottville Brewing Company Blueberry Wheat or Southern Tier Brewing Company IPA. In total, there are 18 unique draft beers and nearly 50 bottled beers to choose from.

Feeling hungry? If so, you may want to try a Reuben Brick Oven Pizza topped with shaved corned beef or the Fish & Chips featuring a Guinness beer batter to stay in the holiday spirit!

Brick Oven Bistro & Deli offers booth and table seating, convenient neighborhood parking, a family friendly environment and is handicap accessible. Kitchen hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (bar open later). For more information, please call 844-8496, visit or follow Brick Oven Bistro & Deli on Facebook for frequent updates.

Yelp’s All-Local Wine & Cheese Tasting at City Wine Merchant

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Despite the chillier temperatures, the community came out in great spirits for Yelp’s All-Local Wine & Cheese Tasting at City Wine Merchant in downtown Buffalo last Thursday. Yelp, a popular website for localized business and restaurant reviews, gathered together several purveyors for a fun, informal evening.

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, located on the Niagara Wine Trail, brought out a selection of their great locally-made wines. I sampled the 2009 Red Meritage, which I found to be quite intense- but in a good way. I could see it pairing well with a pork dish. Edible Buffalo’s editor, Michelle Blackley, sampled both the 2009 Chardonnay and the 2008 Vidal Ice Wine. The Vidal was a dessert wine which she noted was quite “citrusy.”

The wines from Arrowhead Spring paired well with the sweet and savory selections offered up by the other businesses in attendance. Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile, which just opened on Elmwood Avenue this week, provided a preview of their cheeses. We sampled a three-cream brie as well as a goat’s milk gouda cheese, and both were delicious. The three-cream brie especially, when paired with Five Points Bakery’s rye bread offering.

Tuscany on Main, who also just opened up a location on Elmwood Avenue, offered up a selection of different olive oils and vinegars. The selections were unique- lime olive oil, raspberry balsamic vinegar and feta-stuffed olives, which went well with several of the different Arrowhead wine selections.

The tasting was a great event with a special focus on Western New York businesses. City Wine Merchant hosts tastings, wine classes and private parties often- for more on the store, and to check out their calendar of events visit them at

Contributed by Katelynn Padowski

City Wine Merchants presents An Evening at Rue Franklin

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm


Local business City Wine Merchants and restaurant Rue Franklin are teaming up on the evening of Monday, March 5, 2012 for a seasonal wine dinner with a traditional French focus. The cost is $130 per person, including tax and gratuity. Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:00 p.m. Dinner follows at 6:30 p.m. There are a few spots open for the dinner- feel free to spread the word! More information can be found here.

Menu and Wine Pairings:

A Selection of hors d’oveures
Crement de Bourgogne, JJ Vincent et Fils NV

Pochouse: Fresh water fish stew
Pike, Smelt, and Perch poached in white wine, onions, mushrooms, cream and bacon
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon ‘Cuvee Guy Moreau’ Domaine Christian Moreau Pere et Fils 2009

Rabbit a la Dijonnaise
Braised rabbit with mustard sauce, potatoes and onion
Beaune Les Teurons 1er Cru, Domaine Chateau de Chorey 2009

Cheese selections
Three cheeses, preserved pears, small mache salad and bread
Chassagne Montrachet, Olivier Leflaive 2009

Ile flottante
Poached meringue afloat in crème anglaise with caramel and toasted almonds
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Paul Jaboulet Aine 2007


Winter In The Garden

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

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The Buffalo Museum of Science garden is growing, literally. An expansion, thanks to additional funding through the National Wildlife Federation/HSBC’s Eco-Schools grant, and bed sponsorship through Wegmans, is planned for this spring.

Currently, the one-year old garden has six raised beds and a center herb bed, which includes blackberries, fall raspberries, asparagus, and a rhubarb patch, and hopefully two pear trees.

The garden was used heavily this summer, according to staff at the Museum. Jessica Meyers Altman, development coordinator, said her program (funded through the WNY Women’s Fund), educated young girls from their attached magnet school. The science of food, and the impact it has on health and the Earth was the focus.

“With every topic we studied we used vegetables and herbs from the garden, for example with yeast and made pizza,” she said. “I am currently running an after school healthy living class. We would love to get more schools involved.”

Thanks to a mild Western New York winter, caretakers at the Buffalo Museum of Science garden were able to pick bunches of parsley and collards. After sautéing them, they made cauliflower and green soup with the after school program.

Cauliflower and Green Soup

1 head of cauliflower

3 to 4 cloves of garlic

2 cups onions diced

Parmesan cheese

Handful of fresh dill

Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a soup pot and cover with 6 to 8 cups of water, enough to cover the cauliflower. Simmer until cauliflower is knife tender.

Add 1 bunch of collards (or any green) dill, and purée, while adding salt pepper to taste. Add more dill and water if needed. Add Parmesan cheese* and handful of fresh dill.

Freeze any leftovers.

*Fat and dairy free, vegetarian friendly if the cheese is omitted.